“Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment. It is a place which should be visited or seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence” Seat of Enlightenment, The Diamond Throne, Vajrasana.
According to legend, Siddhartha visited Gaya before attaining enlightenment and becoming a Buddha in year 500 BC. He sat under Sacred Fig for continuous seven days of meditation untill he reached state of supreme enlightenment. About 250 years later, the Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka visited the site and decided to build the Mahabodhi Temple. According to the tradition, Ashoka, besides establishing a monastery, erected a diamond throne shrine at this spot with a canopy supported by four pillars over a stone representation of the Vajrasana, the Seat of Enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple and the sacred Bodhi Tree became a place of pilgrimage not only for the Buddhists but also for the Hindus as it is widely believed that, Lord Vishnu gave Gaya, a celestial being, the power to absolve the sinners and to raise them to heavens. Since nineteen-fifties, Bodh Gaya has been developed as an international place of pilgrimage and Buddhists from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Burma, Tibet and Japan built their temples within walking distance of the Mahabodhi. The site now attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year. With all that said, I must admit that unfortunately for me I was not awaken nor enlightened and during my stay in Bodh Gaya I had slightly disappointing impression that I’m in some kind of Disneyland for Buddhists.